MƒA MASTER TEACHER
Ella Baker School
# of years teaching
Michael Paoli believes collaboration and communication are key elements in education: “I like my classroom to be exploratory and discussion-based, with students participating in heated debates and conversations about their work and understanding.” Michael’s push to emphasize student discussion in the classroom has led not only to greater interaction and learning, but has also caught the attention of others; Michael and his students were featured on CBS News and in The Wall Street Journal for debating the ethics behind eating the fish they raised in tanks in his classroom.
For Michael, MƒA is a place where people with equal interests in STEM education can get into exciting discussions about their passions. “Whenever I have done something that’s been mind-blowing or successful, it’s always been in a group setting, and I’ve found that collaborative environment at MƒA.” Michael leads an MƒA course, The Socratic Circle, where teachers come together to talk about how to allow students to develop thoughtful conversation on an academic idea. He has attended MƒA courses ranging in topics from non-routine problem solving to viewing microscopic creatures aboard the BioBus. “I love trying out new things with fellow educators. It’s a great way to feel the pulse of what other teachers are doing throughout the city.”
Michael earned his B.Sc. in Mathematics and Theatre from the University of Toronto, his B.Ed. from Ontario Institute of Studies in Education, and his M.Ed. from Hunter College. He traveled to France and the UK to investigate aquaculture as a Fund for Teachers grant recipient. He brought this experience to the classroom, creating a self-sustaining aquaponics system that his students use to raise tilapia. He will be doing a TEDx talk with his students about the project. Michael is part of a mathematics inquiry team led by Professor Betina Zolkower of Brooklyn College to "Engage Students in Framing and Solving Non-Routine Problems."